A JOHNSTONE park has been branded a “no-go zone” due to broken streetlights which have plunged it into darkness. 

The condition of Thomas Shanks Park has long been a source of frustration for the people of the town, who feel they have been “neglected” by Renfrewshire Council in favour of towns such as Paisley.

Work was carried out in the park earlier this year to repair a number of “rundown” footpaths but now there are calls for more to be done to breathe new life into the historic space.

This includes the “long overdue” replacement of the broken streetlights, which have been become a particular source of concern with darker nights drawing in.

Many locals are now avoiding the park at night due to the fear of being targeted by yobs. 

Councillor John Hood, whose ward covers the park, told The Gazette: “The lights in that park have been a nightmare and an ongoing issue for years. 

“There has been some money spent on Thomas Shanks Park with the improvements to the paths but it still pales in comparison to the likes of Barshaw Park and Robertson Park. 

“It is a crying shame because it is a great park and should be available to the people in the area. There is a lot of anti-social behaviour in the park and for many it is a no-go area. 

“I spend time in England and some of their parks have automatic lights which switch on when children get near the park. It is chalk and cheese to what we have with Thomas Shanks.

“I would be worried about my 17-year-old son wandering through there, to be honest.” 

Fears were raised earlier this year that the condition of the park’s paths were jeopardising Johnstone Gala. 

The biggest date in the town’s social calendar thankfully went ahead, however, when council bosses committed to completing repairs before the Gala Day. 

Tom Wallace, chairman of Johnstone Community Council, backed Cllr Hood’s claims the park is a place to bypass in its current state. 

He said: “There are a number of things which need to be done in that park and the lights, which haven’t worked for years, are definitely something which needs urgently fixing.

“I am hardly Muhammad Ali, but I am physically capable and I still wouldn’t go near the park at night. 

“We feel that it is Johnstone’s time to get some investment even although it hasn’t been near the top of the totem pole for some time.” 

A Renfrewshire Council spokesperson said: “We are investigating reported issues with lighting in Thomas Shanks Park."